Historical Timeline of San José Public Library

1872, Jul. 12: San José Library Association begins a membership library in an upstairs room of the Knox Block (corner of First and Santa Clara streets). Collection built from donations

1880, Apr. 30: Library supporters persuade City Council to pass a resolution creating a tax-supported library system

1880: Library located on south side of Santa Clara Street (between Market and First), William Redding becomes first City Librarian (1880-1887)

1889, May: Library moves to second floor of new City Hall

1901: Andrew Carnegie gives the City $50,000 for a new library building

1903: Library moves to the new Carnegie Library at Fourth & San Fernando (future site of the King Library)

1907: Carnegie Library constructed on East Santa Clara St. (the future "East San José Carnegie Branch")

1911: First branch, East San José Carnegie, acquired when San José annexes the City of East San José

1937, July: Main Library moves from Carnegie location to the old Post Office building on the corner of Market and San Fernando streets (currently the San José Museum of Art)

1937: San José annexes the town of Willow Glen, acquiring the Willow Glen Branch

1949: Willow Glen Branch moves to current location on Minnesota Ave.

1959: Bookmobile service begins with 60 stops every two weeks

1960: Rosegarden Branch opens

1961: Cambrian Branch opens

1964, Mar. 8: West Valley Branch opens

1965: A federal grant, along with a bond issue from 1961, provide $4,470,000 for construction of a new Main Library building

1965, Aug.: Hillview Branch opens

1966: Calabazas Branch opens

1967: Seventrees Branch opens

1968: Berryessa Branch opens

1968: San José annexes city of Alviso.  Its City Hall (built 1934) becomes the Alviso Branch

1970, Apr.: Main Library opens on W. San Carlos St.

1971: Almaden and Edenvale (December) branches open

1974: Willow Glen Branch damaged in fire

1974: Edenvale Branch renamed "Pearl Avenue Branch"

1975, Apr.: Rebuilt Willow Glen Branch opens

1976, Mar.: Evergreen Branch opens

1976, Apr.: Biblioteca Latinoamericana becomes affiliated with San José Public Library and opens in a facility provided by Sacred Heart Church as a result of a grant from the California State Library

1976, Dec.: Educational Park Branch opens in partnership with East Side Union High School District

1976: Dewey Decimal System arrangement of collection adopted 

1977, Fall: Empire Branch Library opens

1978, Dec.: Biblioteca Latinoamericana moves to a new facility in the former Woodrow Wilson, Jr. High School cafeteria

1983: Flood destroys Alviso Branch collections

1984, Mar.: Alviso Branch reopens

1984, Nov.: Santa Teresa Branch opens

1990, Jan. 15: Main Library rededicated as the "Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Main Library"

1993: City grapples with issue of the Main Library being at 100% capacity

1994, Nov.: Voters approve formation of the Library Benefit Assessment District

1997, Feb.: SJSU President Robert Caret and Mayor Susan Hammer announced intent to collaborate and build a new library that will serve both communities

1998, May: Memorandum of Understanding between the City and University approved

1998, Dec.: Separate Operating and Development agreements approved by the City and University

 • Download the Operating Agreement (183K PDF, Adobe Acrobat Reader required)

1999, Mar.: Architectural design drawings completed for the new King Library

1999, Sep.: Expanded Alviso Branch opens

1999, Nov. 20: Biblioteca Latinoamericana Branch moves to its current location on South First St.

1999, Dec.: Construction documents completed for the new King Library

2000, Jul.?: Construction begins on the new King Library

2000, Oct. 20?: Groundbreaking for the new King Library

2000, Nov.: Voters approve Branch Library Bond Measure providing $212 million for 6 new and 14 expanded branches

2001, Sep.: Empire Branch renamed "Joyce Ellington"

2003: Expanded West Valley Branch opens

2003, Aug.: The new Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library opens at Fourth & San Fernando

2004, Jan. 17: Vineland Branch opens, the first of 6 new facilities funded by the 2000 Branch Library Bond Measure

2005, Jan. 22: Tully Community Branch opens

2005, Mar. 12: Expanded Berryessa Branch opens at its current location

2005, Jul. 9: Dr. Roberto Cruz – Alum Rock Branch opens, replacing the county-operated facility from 1978

2006, Feb. 11: Expanded Rose Garden Branch opens

2006, May 13: Expanded Almaden Branch and Community center open

2006, Sep. 16: Expanded Evergreen Branch opens

2006, Nov. 18: Expanded Cambrian Branch opens

2007, Jan. 20: Expanded Hillview Branch opens in its new location

2007, Nov. 3: Edenvale Branch Library opens

2008, Jun. 28: Expanded Joyce Ellington Branch opens

2008, Aug. 9: Expanded Pearl Avenue Branch opens

2008, Aug. 23: Expanded Willow Glen Branch opens

2009, Aug. 29: Expanded East San José Carnegie Branch opens

2010, Feb. 6: Expanded Santa Teresa Branch opens

2013, Jan. 26: Expanded Seven Trees Branch opens

2013, Feb. 23: Bascom Branch opens

2013, May 18: Expanded Educational Park Branch opens

2013, Jun. 8: Expanded Calabazas Branch opens

2016, Apr. 16: Village Square Branch opens

See Historical Photos on Flickr!

Old Post Office building
The Old Post Office building, site of the library from 1937-1970.

East San José Carnegie branch
The first branch, East San José Carnegie, built in 1907.

Original King Main Library
The original Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Main Library, built in 1970.